Acorns were the main food of the Yurok, with fish (mostly salmon) also important to them. Deer were plentiful, and were caught with snares. Bulbs were dug in early summer, and seeds were gathered. Salt was furnished by a seaweed which was dried in round blackish cakes.
Yurok men caught fish and mollusks from their canoes. They also hunted sea lions, deer, and small game. Yurok women gathered acorns and ground them into meal, as well as collecting seaweed, berries and roots.
Today, the Yuroks have made a remarkable recovery. They’re the most populous tribe in California, with more than 5,500 members. The majority live in Del Norte and Humboldt counties. The tribe has actively pursued cultural and language revitalization, viewing Humboldt Lagoons State Park as part of their heritage.
Aiy-yue-kwee’ Nee-kee-chue! (Hello Everyone!)
The canoes are used to transport dancers and ceremonial people. The traditional money used by Yurok people is terk-term (dentalia shell), which is a shell harvested from the ocean.
They are called the seed-gatherers because they did no farming at all in the days before Columbus. Their main food was acorns. The Yokuts also ate wild plants, roots, and berries. They hunted deer, rabbits, prairie dogs, and other small mammals and birds.
Changes to river hydrology, rising sea levels, increased frequency of storm events, and a loss of culturally significant species have all altered the manner in which Yurok people are able to maintain cultural, economic, and spiritual ties to their sacred lands.
The Yurok built rectangular houses using wood from redwood trees. They hunted, fished, and gathered nuts, berries, and other wild plant foods. Their most important foods were salmon and acorns. The Yurok wove baskets and made dugout canoes from redwoods.
Traditional Yurok ceremonies include the Deerskin Dance, Doctor Dance, Jump Dance, Brush Dance, Kick Dance, Flower Dance, and Boat Dance. These draw the Yurok people and neighboring tribes together for renewal, healing, and prayer. An annual Salmon Festival is held in August.
There were 5,793 Yurok living throughout the United States. The Yurok Indian Reservation is California’s largest tribe, with 6357 members as of 2019.
Yurok, North American Indians who lived in what is now California along the lower Klamath River and the Pacific coast. They spoke a Macro-Algonquian language and were culturally and linguistically related to the Wiyot.
On a misty morning in August, I joined hands with 30 indigenous and community leaders, civil servants from subnational governments and civil society representatives in front of an ancient redwood tree in Northern California to say Wokhlew —meaning “thank you” in the centuries-old language of the Yurok tribe based in
Acorns were the main food of the Yurok, with fish (mostly salmon) also important to them.
The Yurok People, often self-described as salmon people, inhabit the most downriver lands of the Klamath River in what is now the northwest corner of California.